Earlier this week, Calgary City Council voted to reveal details of their side of the arena negotiations with the Calgary Flames. The Flames’ side of things are reportedly covered by a confidentiality agreement, but sources have seemingly leaked quite a bit of the nuts and bolts to the Calgary Herald‘s city hall columnist Don Braid.
Reportedly – and grain of salt on this, obviously – the Flames desired the City to pay for 52% of the $550 million needed to build the new barn. That would mean that the taxpayers would shell out $286 million for the building, with the Flames paying the remaining $264 million.
Braid spoke with Ken King, who had a fairly straightforward rationale for the reported share of costs for the hockey club:
But Flames CEO Ken King says nobody should be surprised the Flames want both parties to pay roughly equal share. “That’s basically what we proposed with CalgaryNEXT — 50-50. It’s very fair.
“So, it should come as no surprise that any model we could put forward in Victoria Park is similar to the one put forward in CalgaryNEXT.”
For those just joining us, the proposed cost structure from the $890 million CalgaryNEXT proposal was:
- $200 million from the Flames
- $200 million from the City (from the money ear-marked for the fieldhouse)
- $250 million from a ticket tax
- $240 million from a Community Revitalization Levy
If the Flames were going to be fronting the money from the ticket tax, then they would have been putting up half the money. But also bear in mind that many of the problems critics – both in and out of City Hall – had regarding the proposal involved the financial structure; such as the City didn’t have the money for a fieldhouse to begin with, and it was fuzzy whether or not the West Village could qualify for a CRL.
But Braid’s detailing of the Flames’ proposal gets better.
Sources also say the sports company at one point asked for veto power over development in Victoria Park. Any projects would have to match its own vision for the area.
The request, which apparently came in a letter rather than as part of a formal offer, was made in February. Sources say that may have been early bluster, perhaps related to testy relations between the Flames and the Stampede.
According to Braid, it’s unclear who would own the building or whether the team would pay any rent. Presently, the City of Calgary officially owns the Saddledome and the Flames lease it from them (via the non-profit Saddledome Foundation, which distributes the funds to three local charities). As such, the ‘Dome generates no property tax revenue for the City.
Here’s a comparison of the three cost structures we’ve seen since this saga began in August 2015:
|Total Cost||$550 million||$550 million||$890 million|
|From City||$183 million||$286 million||$200 million|
|From Flames||$183 million||$284 million||$200 million|
|Ticket Tax||$183 million||—||$250 million|
Note: The City’s proposal reportedly included their contribution being a loan, while CalgaryNEXT included the construction of a fieldhouse/football stadium as well as an arena.
Once again, take these details with a grain of salt. It’s a leak, after all. But Braid’s a veteran reporter who probably wouldn’t go out on a limb like this – or go to King for comment – if he wasn’t confident in his sources.